Bellevue Hospital’s Victorian beauty and glory

It’s the oldest public hospital in the country, opening in 1736 first as a six-bed infirmary in the almshouse in today’s City Hall Park.

Soon after, thanks to a yellow fever epidemic, it moved to what was then considered way uptown, to the former Belle Vue Farm overlooking the East River near Kips Bay in 1794.


This wonderful postcard view of one of Bellevue’s buildings at First Avenue and 26th Street is undated, unfortunately.

I’d place it at about 1900, after the hospital had already racked up an impressive number of firsts: the first maternity ward, the first emergency pavilion and ambulance service, the first appendectomy, the first hospital with a building devoted to the insane and a unit specifically for alcoholics.

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8 Responses to “Bellevue Hospital’s Victorian beauty and glory”

  1. Beth Says:

    Too bad that Victorian building is no longer evident. So picturesque. Scouting ny did a couple of articles about Bellevue as well. Interesting stuff.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Here is Scout’s post. Very cool!

  3. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Wow, some changes were made at the front of Bellevue since I was last there about 20 years ago. Impressive but sad that the old has been covered up with glass. Reminds me the vast park land at the VA building on 23rd St & 1st Ave before they put up an ugly huge hospital building. Totally changed the area.

  4. Weekend Bites: Believer Awards, Goodbye WIERD, Inspiring Herman Melville, Victorian Hospitals, and More | Vol. 1 Brooklyn Says:

    […] Bellevue Hospital in the Victorian era. […]

  5. Lorinda Says:

    This post card was published sometime between 1904 and probably 1910. The building that is the furthest east is the A&B building, the first to be put up as part of the McKim Meade and White architectural group. The building closest to first avenue is the Marquand Pavilion. A gift to the hospital which cared for women and children. The A&B building was started in 1904 on extended bulkhead. The entire new campus was not completed until 1941. The depression and both World Wars slowed the construction.

  6. A surprising relic inside Bellevue Hospital’s lobby | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] 2000, Bellevue Hospital Center—the city’s oldest hospital, established in 1794 in the hinterlands of the city along First Avenue and 28th Street—decided to […]

  7. When the circus came to Bellevue Hospital | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] But perhaps no one welcomed clowns, elephants, horses, and the rest of the dazzling show quite like the patients of Bellevue Hospital. […]

  8. What New York did in 1947 to evade an epidemic | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] days later, Le Bar was in Bellevue Hospital, unsure of what he had. He raged with fever and was covered in dark red bumps, similar to chicken […]

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